In The Medusa Legacy, my debut thriller series, I weave a modern-day tale into some popular Greek myth. Below, I have provided some backstory relevant to the first two books — alternating between Zeus’ and Athena’s point of view.
Upon hearing that one of his offspring with Metis, Goddess of Wisdom, would rule the heavens, Zeus was more than a little worried. That was his job and he wasn’t near ready to relinquish it. He’d worked hard to attain his new position as king of the Gods, ruler of the heavens, and God of Justice. And he knew all too well what it took to get there.
He felt no guilt, wresting Titan rule from his father’s hands. Cronus needed to be knocked from his throne. Out with the Titans, in with the Olympians.
Zeus had known it would take more than just himself to defeat the powerful and tyrannical Cronus. He needed allies, lots of them. Once he’d freed his siblings (two brothers and three sisters) from Cronus’ belly, he set loose various Titans from Tartarus that had been wronged by his father. Now loyal to Zeus, the Cyclopes among others, helped Zeus and his brethren defeat the old Titan ruler.
For their loyalty and service, Zeus allowed the Titans to live free so long as they behaved. In gratitude, the three blacksmith cyclops – Brontes, Steropes and Arges – created the new Olympian rulers gifts at their forge. Zeus, ruler of the heaven, received the thunderbolt. Poseidon, ruler of the sea, received the trident. And Hades, ruler of the underworld, received the helm of darkness.
But I digress — back to Zeus’ worry about the prophecy.
Upon hearing his wife was pregnant, quite possibly with a child that would usurp his newly acquired position, Zeus had to take action. Borrowing a page from Cronus’ handbook on how to deal with threat and uncertainty, he swallowed his pregnant wife whole.
Why risk it? Problem solved.
Understandably, Athena’s relationship with her father, Zeus, was strained. She’d spent her entire youth imprisoned inside of him. That was no way to rear a child.
He’d never relinquished her mother from his fleshy tomb either. That hurt.
God of Justice, she seethed. What had Metis ever done to him?
With no nurtured maternal instincts, Athena eschewed the whole nasty motherhood business, declaring herself a virginal Goddess.
Men? Children? Who needed ‘em.
Goddess of War? Sure. What the hell.
Goddess of heroic endeavour? Sure, it could come in handy someday.
So, Athena, more than a little pissed, kept her sentiments to herself, preferring the indirect approach. She was much too smart to go toe-to-toe with the king of Gods.
There were other ways to hurt the old man.
“Son of a bitch! Do it! Do it now!” Zeus commanded his son, Hephaestus, to cleave his skull with the double-bladed axe. The pressure in his head was more than he could bear.
With a flash of light and shower of gold, Zeus’ cranium split open and Athena sprang free, armored and ready for battle. Her battle cry pealed over the island of Rhodes, announcing her arrival.
Pushing his skull back together, a by-product of covering his ears from the banshee wail of Athena’s release. Zeus raised his thunderbolt, considering for a moment to take action. But she was a woman. No threat there. He’d let her live.
Besides, she reminded him of Metis, they’d been good together once. Maybe he’d been hasty, swallowing her before he’d even known whether she was bearing him a son or daughter.
But over time, as Zeus got to know Athena, he started to question the wisdom of letting her live. At every turn, she seemed to undermine his command. Even his friends and advisors accused him of giving her too much latitude, letting her disobedience go unchecked for way too long. He was running out of patience.
From the moment of her emergence, Zeus and Athena’s relationship ranged from an uneasy truce to occupying opposite sides of the epic conflict of Troy (Athena and Poseidon siding with the Greeks and Zeus with the Trojans).
The backstory blurb above demonstrates there are two sides to every story.
In my first book, the Medusa Deception, Zeus’ tolerance of Athena’s actions and her inner motivations are brought to light, uncovering more deception and knife-twisting than ever known.
In the sequel, the Dodona Prophecy, the conflict between Zeus and Athena comes to a head, with Mandy caught in the middle.
I get a kick out of researching the ancient myths, reading between the lines and putting my own spin on them. I hope you enjoy them too.
Please watch for The Dodona Prophecy, book two in the series, due out in 2015.
The Myth Twister